Short, straightforward in narrative, and relatively linear in plot, The Crying of Lot 49 is considered by many to be Pynchon’s most accessible novel, and is therefore the one most commonly read, whether to fulfill the syllabus of a literature course or simply for pleasure. Nevertheless, it remains an enigmatic book that has been analyzed, discussed, and dissected almost as much as Gravity’s Rainbow. Even thirty years after publication it is still considered quite open to interpretation: some critics feel that it is ultimately meaningless and impossible to interpret, while others have found it to be rather cohesive, and even possessed by a set of ethical directives. Others, as J. Grant remarks, perhaps mindful of Oedipa’s notion that “excluded middles” are “bad shit,” have worked to find a functional interface between book and reader. All, however, agree that it is a vital work and a postmodern classic.